Artificial Detachment

Title: ARTIFICIAL DETACHMENT

Author: T'Lin ( Linkys@aol.com )

Series: TOS

Code: S/Mc

Rating: PG-13

Summary: McCoy returns to Vulcan to confront Spock, years after the fal-tor-pan. (Challenge Scenario hidden until the end)

Archiving: The Den, ASC*, BLTS and my own site -- http://www.geocities.com/tlin_s/ -- all others, please ask first.

Written for Round 5 of the Spock/McCoy Haven Fest -- http://www.members.tripod.com/spockmccoyote

Disclaimer: Paramount/Viacom own the TREK universe, I'm just borrowing the boys for a bit ... I promise to return them, unharmed, when I'm finished with them. No copyright infringement is intended, nor do I make any money off of my endeavors. Although the characters are not mine, this original piece of STAR TREK fanfiction is the creative property of T'Lin, 3 July, 2003.

Feedback gladly accepted ... publicly or privately.




ARTIFICIAL DETACHMENT

by T'Lin -- 0307.03



It had been some time since McCoy had last set foot on Vulcan. He had not been in his right mind when he had arrived the last time. Neither had Spock ... literally. But the fal-tor-pan had remedied that situation ... at least that is what the high priestess kept telling him. For days after the ceremony was completed, McCoy had felt as if something was not quite right, but she insisted all was well.



So he ignored the dreams, and the feeling of being 'disconnected' from his surroundings, and went on with his life. They all did ... including Spock. Before he knew it, it was time to return to Earth and face the music. The others may have been surprised when Spock joined them, but he wasn't ... after all, what else was he to do?



But even that didn't go as planned. Once again, it was up to *them* to save Earth ... and once again, they were, surprisingly, up to the task. When they finally returned -- in a borrowed Klingon ship that barely held together through the slingshot maneuver that threw them back in time, and forward again -- there was little question of the outcome. The court marshal was, after all, simply a formality ... they couldn't very well throw the book at the lot of 'em after they had just saved Earth's butt.



So, life went on. They got a new Enterprise ... and the valiant crew of the Starship Enterprise went out and explored space; returning periodically for training cruises with the latest batch of cadets from the Academy.



They had settled into a rather predictable and comfortable routine, and all was well with the universe ... until the day Spock resigned.



Ah, what a fateful day ...



There was no explanation given, he just submitted his resignation, and left the very next day. McCoy tried to find an answer, but none was forthcoming ... but deep down, he knew there was something wrong with Spock, for the dreams he had experienced back on Vulcan had returned, and somehow, he sensed that they were not his own.



So, McCoy requested a leave of absence, and followed Spock to Vulcan.



~<>~<>~<>~<>~



It took him three days to find Spock, for he had left his home, and gone on what amounted to a 'walkabout' in the desert. Sarek had stoically stated that it was the Vulcan way, but would say no more. Amanda had been concerned, and rightfully so, but too frail to have done anything to stop him. When McCoy had asked for a vehicle equipped for desert travel, and the general direction which Spock had taken, they both showed him their gratitude, in their own way.



Spock had left five days before McCoy had arrived; his bearing would eventually take him to the base of Mount Seleya. Unfortunately, the vehicle could not go much faster than a walking man, for if it did, the sand would rise and cut visibility to virtually nothing.



But McCoy was determined ... the first day, he pushed the vehicle to it's limits, relying heavily on instrumentation to keep him on course. When darkness fell, he rested for the night. His sleep was fitful, interrupted frequently by images he knew were alien to him, yet familiar.



The second day was much like the first ... he knew he was still far behind Spock, so there was no reason for caution in his path into the desert. When at last he rested, he gave himself something to help him sleep ... another night of restlessness would benefit nobody.



Half way through the third day, there were signs of life on his monitors ... yet he was still too distant to determine which one, if any, was Spock. But they were enough for him to slow his pace. The first few readings eventually proved to be lower life forms, but eventually, his sensors detected Spock.



McCoy adjusted the vehicle's trajectory to intersect with the Vulcan, who was slightly off course for his original destination. When at last he came upon him, McCoy could see why. Spock had apparently become ill, and was huddled in an outcropping of rock, sheltering himself from the mid-day sun.



Shutting down the vehicle, McCoy hastily grabbed his medical supplies, and went to Spock's aid. He had assumed that Spock was suffering from the heat and exposure to the sun ... but at his approach, Spock demanded that he not come any closer. Confused, McCoy tried to reason with the apparently delusional Vulcan, but there was no persuading him to cooperate.



McCoy sat back, medical tricorder in hand, analyzing the situation. The readings were erratic ... Spock was obviously suffering from heat and dehydration, but also from a chemical imbalance and lack of sleep. The heat and water he could remedy immediately, if Spock would allow it ... the rest ... well that was problematic. Determining the cause was half the battle.



One thing he knew for certain, however, was that this was *not* Pon Farr.



Cautiously, he moved toward Spock, water bottle in hand. When he was nearly close enough to touch Spock, he stopped and placed the water bottle within easy reach of the Vulcan. Quietly, he urged Spock to drink ... but Spock yelled at him to get away; rambling on about not being able to take it anymore, although what 'it' was, was beyond McCoy's imagining.



Leaving the water bottle behind, McCoy retreated back to his vehicle, and once again pulled out his tricorder. Spock's readings were erratic, even for Spock. McCoy sat back, carefully isolating each anomaly, searching for a clue as to what was wrong with Spock, all the while watching the Vulcan through lowered lids. When Spock reached out for the water, McCoy smiled, but otherwise didn't let on that he had seen.



It was then that a flash of images came to his mind ... similar to the dreams he had been having, but not quite the same. At the same time, Spock dropped the water bottle, grabbing his head and crying out, as if in pain. The sound of Spock's cry jolted McCoy to alertness; the tricorder in his hand suddenly registering a spike in Spock's brain-waves.



McCoy quickly turned the tricorder onto himself, and noticed a reciprocal spike in the readings. Suddenly, the suspicion he had harbored for years had been confirmed ... there *was* a link still between his mind and Spock's. But even so, that didn't explain what was happening to Spock, and McCoy desperately needed to know ... if there was anything that he could do to ease Spock's pain -- and he was obviously in pain -- he had to do it.



It was time to take matters in his own hands. If Spock was not going to tell him what was wrong, he would have to open the link between them, and see for himself. Clearing his mind, he tried to fill his thoughts with compassion and trust as he closed the distance between them once again. He ignored Spock's outbursts and pleas to be left alone, hiding the hurt he felt when Spock pulled away from his touch.



But Spock was weaker than usual, and McCoy was determined ... he pulled Spock into his arms, whispering that everything would be all right. Spock was tense, but after a moment, accepted the arms that consoled him. McCoy had no way of knowing if the connection between them had strengthened, but he continued to think happy thoughts, hoping to ease Spock's mind. When Spock's trembling eased, he assumed that he had been at least partially successful.



At last, Spock asked McCoy why he hadn't told him ... a rather cryptic question that McCoy immediately wanted clarified. But instead of answering, Spock seemed to change the subject, saying that the High Priestess could not completely sever the bond that had formed between them while his Katra was held within McCoy's mind. Instead, she had given him an herbal compound that would suppress the mental energy that flowed between them. She had insisted that this artificial form of detachment was a necessity if the two of them wished to retain their sanity. She had insisted that, eventually, the bond would subside on its own. When it did, he would be able to wean himself off of the herbal remedy.



But time had passed, and the bond had not subsided. He had tried on several occasions to stop taking the herbs, only to have the connection flare up. So of course, the only solution was to continue taking the herbs.



But there was a drawback to that, as well. Not only did they provide artificial detachment to an unnatural bond, they also hampered his cognitive abilities. He had been hiding the deterioration of his mental capacities for several years now, but it was getting to be too much.



When he had at last fallen silent, McCoy speculated that distance might prove effective in severing the bond, thereby allowing him to stop taking the herbs. Spock agreed that he had been thinking along those same lines when he had resigned his commission.



Unfortunately, the hypothesis had proven false ... at least, until McCoy arrived, he had assumed that distance had not helped any. The fact that McCoy was on Vulcan, when the herbs in his system wore off, nullified his results. But in the long run, it really didn't matter. His system had come to rely on the artificial detachment brought on by the herbs; the everyday thoughts and emotions of others overwhelmed him, which is why he had gone to the desert.



Here, in the solitude of the desert, he could purge his system of the last of the herbs ... only then could he begin to relearn how to build the mental barriers that had taken him a lifetime to build in the first place. After his fal-tor-pan, the high priestess had used a shortcut to help him ... and now, he was paying the price.



McCoy had listened in silence, all the while holding Spock close to him. He wanted to berate the high priestess; her assumption that they could not deal with the bond had been way out of line. But this was not the time or place for such thoughts ... Spock needed him ... needed to know that he would be there for him, in any way he could.



What McCoy didn't know at the time was that he had already done more to heal Spock, simply by allowing the bond between them to fully form, than he could have done with injections or potions. But there was one other thing he could do for Spock, and that was get him out of the heat.



Careful to remain in physical contact with Spock, McCoy stood, pulling the taller Vulcan up with him. They made their way to the vehicle, which had gotten quite warm while the two of them had been sitting in the desert, but a flick of a switch got the air circulatory running again, and soon it was quite cool. McCoy had given Spock another bottle of water, and as Spock drank, he scanned him once more ... having some clue as to what to look for, the chemical imbalances were suddenly obvious, and he quickly filled a hypospray with a counteragent that would ease the majority of the withdrawal symptoms.



McCoy smiled as he realized that he had lost the physical connection to Spock, yet the bond had remained open between them. Spock, too, found this fascinating, and apologized for any inconvenience the bond would create for the doctor. McCoy had been concentrating on sending warm feelings Spock's way that he hadn't realized that he was receiving them from Spock, as well.



It was then that McCoy suggested that the reason the bond had not dissolved as the high priestess thought it would was that they had not wanted it to ... that deep down, they had been holding on to the one thing that they had shared ... and now, together, they would learn to live with it, on their own terms.



McCoy suggested returning to Spock's parent's house, but Spock had a better idea ... to continue on to the retreat in the mountains, where they could be alone. After all, it would take time to learn how to control his mind once again ... no shortcuts this time, as long as he had McCoy by his side, every step of the way.



McCoy agreed, kissing Spock almost chastely before strapping himself in and starting the engine. They had a long road ahead of them, if they were going to get Spock's mental barriers back to a point where he could function among humans again ... and then, when Spock was back to his old self again, McCoy would confront the high priestess.



Facilitating an addiction is highly unethical ... especially when there was no need for such artificial detachment. And as McCoy drove on, he looked over to Spock and asked the one question he had held back from asking all this time ... why had Spock not spoken to him about the bond in the first place?



Spock looked at him in silence for a minute, then opened his mind, allowing the love he had felt for McCoy to flow through the bond, as he simply said that he did not know that his feelings would be reciprocated. McCoy told him that he should have known, as he projected an image of their last moment together, all those years ago ... and for the first time in many years, they were as one mind and one body ... just as they had been when Spock had 'died', saving them all.



But now, it was McCoy's turn to save Spock.



~the end~

~<>~<>~<>~<>~

Scenario: Write an S/Mc in which one of the boys helps the other fight an addiction.

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